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Having expelled from the Republic "the poetry that aims at pleasure and imitation," Socrates provides for the ban's possible repeal, saying "we'll allow its defenders to speak in prose on its behalf and show that it is beneficial both to constitutions and to human life" (607d). Why does Socrates expel poetry? What kind of defense could make him change his mind? Does Aristotle's discussion in the Poetics provide such a defense, or the components for one, and does the defense succeed in showing that poetry is beneficial? The repeated mistaken moral judgments, ingested from cultural slogans, can, nearly every ancient thinker insists, lead one down a very dark path whose terminus ad quem is, in extreme cases, irrevocable pathology. Both the Greek and Roman Stoics understand their cultures as a source of corruption in virtue of the images that these cultures impress onto the soul of potentially good agents. We receive our culture’s impressions in a way similar... read more

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward Besides minor differences between various cultures and educational systems, a common characteristic among them is that each person has the right to learn. Most people have the tendency and desire to do so and they are best served by teachers who play significant roles in the education systems. John Dewey stated, “I will try my best to understand my students' abilities and show them their unique powers.” As a Perennialist, I believe that cultivation of the intellect is the highest priority of an education. The main objective of education is for people to increase their intellect and wisdom. This results in development of humanity, honesty and morality which is favorable to all people, regardless of differences in colors, languages and cultures. This utopia cannot be achieved easily and requires a sustained, compassionate effort... read more

I'm here to tell you that MATH ANXIETY is a real phenomena. Whenever the subject of math comes up many people severally dread anything that espouses anything to do with math whatsoever. It brings legitimate fear and anxiety to people.    If this sounds like you don't worry you're not alone. But let me reassure you its not something that you have to live with. It almost sounds silly... fear and anxiety coming from math, but I understand how and why many people suffer from this.    I believe that most anxiety comes from the fact that people just don't want to be seen as "stupid" or "dumb." When engaging with math problems it can be easy to be overcome with these type of feelings because we naturally want to seek the "right" answers, especially on tests! However, we don't always need to find the "right" answers. Now, I'm not saying the right answer isn't important what I am saying is that the right answer... read more

Only you can write you. Your faith, your tastes, your culture, your humor, your philosophy on life, or your world view comes through, unless you cater to the masses and worry about whether or not others will accept you. Acceptance that matters is acceptance that lasts. Or as CS Lewis puts it, "If it's not eternal, then it's eternally worthless," though he was not ready to say that, Oxford don or not, until such a point in his life when he decided what HIS stance was. Until then, we are all carried about by the wind, with no place to rest. Sometimes your own culture may have a majority of citizens that detest or oppose you. It is how you handle this that determines who you become. 90% of journals may not accept you because your writing and ideas are counter to theirs, so what you do is start your own journal, your own press. This is freedom of press. This is your right. It may surprise you what you discover. Be courageous. 

I recently came across this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, urging college professors to fight grade inflation in the Humanities. As a college-level Instructional Assistant, I see this all the time. Students feel that their grade in their Anthropology course should reflect only effort and completion, not the content and understanding. This a trend that is not seen in the STEM fields as readily. As a result, professors are pressured to do just that; grade distribution in nearly all humanities classrooms do not follow a standardized bell curve as they might in a science or math classroom.    This sort of behavior not only devalues the importance of the humanities in our society, but also puts our students at a disadvantage. The humanities (Reading, Writing, and the Social Sciences) not only teaches us valuable lessons about communication, and how to connect with other human beings, but allows as a venue to contextualize the STEM fields as they relate... read more

In 399 BC, the Athenians Anytus (on behalf of the craftsmen and politicians), Meletus (on behalf of the poets), and Lycon (on behalf of the rhetoricians) brought Socrates to trial on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth of the city.  These charges may seem strange to modern ears, but there was in fact much at stake for the city of Athens.   "Impiety" This charge stems from the fear that Socrates was another natural philosopher like the Ionians who preferred a naturalistic account of the cosmos to the traditional account of Hesiod and Homer. The references that Socrates makes in Apology 18b-d and 19c are to Aristophanes' comedy Clouds, in which Socrates is portrayed as a buffoonish academic who teaches his students that natural phenomena are not due to the action of the gods; e.g. in the play Socrates explains that thunder is the result of the clouds farting. There was also a common fear that Socrates was another Sophist who would teach... read more

The advertisement on Wyzant asked for my favorite quotes on education. So I feel obliged to recount them. "Education without salvation is damnation." --Bob Jones Sr, Founder of Bob Jones University Brains and education can be a fantastic thing. But, in and of itself, education is not the supreme good. It is not a goal, in and of itself. The devil is not a dummy. He is the smartest being in the universe, outside of Jesus Christ. But his brains do not affect his character, his morality, or his good intentions. If anything, his intelligence worsens his wicked traits. Remember Germany in WWII and Japan in WWI. Did their 95% and 98% literacy rate diminish the evil that they performed? No, it strengthened it. Education without salvation is indeed damnation. "There is nothing more stupid than an educated man, once you get him off the subject that he was educated on." -- Will Rogers People can be educated beyond their intelligence. Just because someone has... read more

When I was an undergraduate, I remember my first day in my introduction to philosophy class at Washington & Jefferson College, which was team-taught by David Schrader and Lloyd Mitchell (guest starring Andrew Rembert, on occasion). The course was subtitled “Beginning the Conversation,” and the two professors introduced the material on the first day by characterizing philosophy as an ongoing conversation about what is important to know, to do, and to believe in a human life and for humanity in general. (This, of course, is what I recall from ten years ago – and my memory of their lecture that day surely has been affected by the passage of time and my experiences in the classroom since.) The emphasis of that day’s discussion was that many brilliant thinkers have contributed to an ongoing conversation on these topics, and that, as students, we could participate in the conversation. A big part of why I pursued philosophy seriously in the time since that first day in Philosophy... read more

Alex made my day today. He passed the Global History and Geography Regents Exam!! Let me tell you a little bit about Alex. When I first met him, he came to tutoring two hours late. The next day an 11/2 late. He was on time on the third day, but by the next week it was back to being Alex. He did not show up for tutoring nor did he call. He would do assignments if he felt like it. There was always an excuse for something, but he would never take responsibility for his actions. When I finally sat down with he and his mother and told them that at the rate Alex was going, he was not going to pass his Regents exams. He may have to repeat the grade or go to summer school. Alex became so angry and adamant. He kept saying repeatedly, that he was not going to repeat grade 10. So I looked at him and asked, "So what are you going to do about it?" "Because saying that you are not going to repeat and then you neither study nor do the assignments, is not saying much. I think that... read more

Writing a research paper is one of the most difficult parts of being a student. You find yourself asking: - How do I start? - What is a thesis statement? - How do I determine if this is a credible source? - How do I make an in-text citation? - Why do I even need a citation? - What is a bibliography? - WHAT AM I DOING? Whether you are in middle school, high school, college, or even graduate school, the following websites provide information about research papers. With a click of the mouse, you can find answers to all of your questions and put an end to those research worries. Purdue Online Writing Lab One of the most useful website you will ever visit. Everything from writing, researching, grammar, mechanics, citations, and formatting – it’s all here! Google Scholar A great place to start begin your research and gather information on your topic. read more

This blog is specific to the AP (Advanced Placement Exams). Not to date myself any further but how things have changed. When I was in High School, there were only a handful of exams that a student could sit for in terms of Advanced placement exams. There were your basic sciences, such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, and of course English Literature and US Government. However, nowadays, students have up to 34 AP exams to choose from, ranging from Chinese to Art History to French or any other subjects a student could imagine. So why sit for these exams? what are the advantages? First is the tangible benefits, which are: 1. Taking and acing the AP exams are much cheaper than paying for college credits at most major universities. Thus, students who prepared in advanced, no pun intended, could easily see major financial savings. 2. By passing AP exams and earning college credits, you graduate sooner. Also, allowing you to have either a lighter course load or allowing... read more

The following is both an example of my own writing, and a sample of my philosophy. Having studied logic, I have applied it to my own expression of faith. Whether or not you share my faith, I invite you to read it, if only as a way of determining my ability to help you learn either writing, or the study of logic. Please enjoy it.   I love being a tutor. It’s probably the best job I’ve ever had, because it gives me an opportunity to share skills and tools I have learned or developed, so that others, too, may reach higher and strive for more. I believe that teaching is a vocation; a way of being a godly person. And we all know what happens when you try to become godly, don’t we? Do we command the respect of people who say, “There goes an example of what others might strive for!”? Are we rewarded with honors and salutations, riches and respect? Do we, at least, receive a pat on the back, and a hearty, “Well done.”? No. If you do everything you’re supposed to, and... read more

Does inductive reasoning lead to knowledge? In inductive reasoning, we form a claim based on a set of observations. The claim (or conclusion) derives from the idea of probability. But can probability really be calculated? Hume argues not, since claiming that a result is "more probable" implies that the past predicts the future. Let us, for example look at: Premise: All swans we have seen are white. Conclusion: All swans are white. or Premise: Every person who has touched fire has been burned Conclusion: Any person who touches fire will be burned. Sextus Empiricus described the circular logic of induction. "Those who claim for themselves to judge the truth are bound to possess a criterion of truth. This criterion, then, either is without a judge's approval or has been approved. But if it is without approval, whence comes it that it is truthworthy? For no matter of dispute is to be trusted without judging. And, if it has been approved,... read more

How do you spend your time? Got a bucket list? Want to learn how to timesurf? It's very much BE, then Do, then Have...The culture has brainwashed everyone into thinking it is HAVE then DO then BE. Buying a tutu is not necessarily going to make you a ballerina or buying an expensive golf club is not automatically going to place you in the top ten finish of a golf tournament or having a laptop computer or website is NOT necessarily going to guarantee that you will have A+s or cash flow everyday. "Time is more important than money!" should be a maxim that you live by everyday wherever you are. I don't think cramming for any exam or test will ever work unless you apply the right attitude and right technique. "The Map Is Not the Territory!" - the 1st Neuro Linguistic Programming presupposition. One may imagine seeing your map and successfully achieving your destination by purely smart and hard work. Does anyone ever use a time... read more

A phoenix suffers death by fire. Engulfed in the searing heat of burning flames, the mythical bird is reduced to naught but ashes. This is a state of finality, completeness, an enduring end. It is believed by many that life can be restored to a body that has lost the embers of life, so long as that body is intact. Such belief led the Egyptians to embalm and mummify their most sacred dead, preserving their bodies for such a time that the breath of fate will return and enliven their comatose forms. Life may be returned, so long as there is a body for the wandering spirit to return to. Many cling to the hope that a loved one will find themselves invigorated again. Some on hospital beds, bodies kept “alive” through the use of machinery, waiting for the day that the lifeless form will find its spark once more. Old beliefs claim that a body has not truly died until it has remained still for three days, as it’s spirit will still be nearby, loosely tied to the form it had inhabited for... read more

For most people, solving a problem or a question is not difficult if they have a model to follow and the correct data to plug into the model. Take one of the most basic functions, paying for something at a cash register. If the cashier tells you the Happy Meal costs (with tax) $4.23, and you hand the cashier a $10.00 bill, I suspect that most cashiers will give and most people will expect their $5.77 in change. Oh, you can confuse people and make the problem more difficult (7 dimes, a nickel and two pennies, rather than 3 quarters and two pennies), but these are just "tricks." This works, because for the vast majority of people, this is an "ordinary" occurrence something we've either done or witnessed hundreds of times, and we can intuitively extend our addition and subtraction rules to a new problem. Unfortunately, most classroom topics are taught like the math example above using clear, intuitive, and easily understood examples, but tested using confusing... read more

So you think literature, writing, history, philosophy, art aren’t “practical subjects”? Think again! Here is what Matthew W. Barrett, CEO of Barclay's Bank had to say about the subject: “If you can get me a young person who can divine the patterns of imagery in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, it would take me just a half hour to teach that person how to break down a balance sheet. Teach kids the humanities, and give them a broad liberal education, and I’ll teach them business skills. I hate schools that have been co-opted by business. I’d rather you taught people to think, because the limiting factor in executive development these days is people who can’t do lateral thinking. Instead, they have a vocational skill or a technical skill, and it runs out of gas very, very early. The ones who will end up in the top 20 jobs in the organization worldwide are people who can stand back and examine the context in which business operates and can connect the dots in creative ways and... read more

I use to attend the amateur astronomy meeting on Friday nights at Duke. While as I liked astronomy, I was only a bit interested in viewing stars via a telescope on a cold winter night. I must confess that the real reason I would attend the meeting was that it was run by a physics professor who specialized in string theory. What a great occasion to discuss and learn about string theory from a world renown expert by crashing his telescope observation sessions. Same thing with my hair stylist, I get my hair cut with her because we can talk about philosophy and Kant. Next thing you know, people will attend church with me to get help with their computer problems. Oh no, Mr. Bill, that already happened!

I teach Italian and philosophy. This note is about learning a foreign language not only Italian. When you try to learn a foreign language never expect a systematic one-to one word corresponding translation. Dictionaries offer approximate translations of words that may behave quite differently within the language that you are studying. One example is the corresponding words in Italian of 'to have' and 'to be', that are 'avere; and 'essere'. Up to a point it is true that you translate those words in such a maner but only up to a point. The auxiliary 'to have' in a past tense like, 'I have gone', is not translated in Italian with the verb 'avere' but with the verb 'essere': 'Io sono andato. Just to mention other simple cases of indeterminacy, prepositions like of, on, to, at, about, through have translations that work only for some cases and not all cases in which they appear in English.

Most write some peripheral thoughts about leadership, beliefs and personal philosophy, discuss it with immediate subordinates and talk about implementing into their organization. But talking about it and modeling it are two different philosophies. Modeling requires a change in the way we think. It requires a strong leader to actually have a strong self-awareness and a strong sense of self. To become a leader means to become a change agent. While at a particular healthcare organization, I was able to implement a leadership framework that was inherently sold to the c-suite by the mere response I was achieving. The need from the people - the employees - was so loud that it permeated through the office hallways and at the water cooler. To learn more about leadership and how to become an effective change agent, you will want to speak with me. I look forward to hearing from you.

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